ETHICS…AS IF PEOPLE MATTERED
Book written by Prof Shashi Sharma (PGP 1973)
Reviewed by Mr PB Varadharajan (PGP 1973) “Prof Shashikant Sharma has written a book on Ethics published recently in June 2020 and with an ISBN number (that enables several libraries easier to order) and was kind enough to send me a digital copy that made it easy for review.
I am quite used to summarizing various books that I come across and publish the extracts in the email groups where I am part of. So, the task of review itself was not difficult – except for the subject. Ethics is indeed a difficult subject in my opinion, to practice by oneself without a supportive ecosystem. It is also not an intuitive subject and needs some orientation.
It is in this task of orientation at the right time – beginning of one’s career that this book on Ethics by Prof Sharma is very useful because it gives a sense of direction and spells out several relevant examples for MBA students and presumably for the faculty as well.
In particular, pages 55-60 give several quadrants that bring out the dilemma that several executives find themselves when confronted with choices.
This book of less than 100 pages is an easy read in terms of time taken to go through at first instance, but if one were to think through the various issues, it may take much longer. I have read elsewhere that humans are hardwired for ‘right & wrong’, and this could be the basis for the evolution of Ethics as a subject.
In my opinion, Prof Sharma could be encouraged to publish more versions of his vision of ethics and write about the concepts in several social media as it is a subject that is likely to vibrate with many souls. The knowledge and advice shared is not just academic but reverberates because of his experience sharing. I have also known Prof Sharma for nearly 50 years and I know ‘he practices what he preaches’ – he himself is an ethical person.
As an MBA from IIMA and also who has taught this subject for one term at a Management Institute, I welcome the publication and circulation of this book on Ethics by Prof Sharma.”
Book Review by Mr Ramana Rajgopaul (PGP 1967) “I cannot think of anyone who cannot hold forth or even pontificate on ethics. Most do as often as occasions arise for them to do so but, most of them also treat ethics as being for the others and not for themselves. For themselves, it is a matter of being practical to live in a world full of unethical behaviour and if one has to be unethical to survive successfully in that world, if one too has to be unethical, so be it.
This attitude is the theme that the author has successfully tackled in this handy book and has squarely put the onus of being ethical on people individually, as the title of the book itself suggests.
Words of praise from stalwarts like Mr. NRN Murthy of Infosys, Mr Deepak Parekh of HDFC, etc (their comments can be found in the book) establish the credibility and practicability of the ideas presented in the book. A very interesting foreword by Mr Naushad Forbes aptly demonstrates why ethics is important in today’s world and the book does justice to the expectations that society puts on the matter.
Knowing the author rather well personally, I would add that he has punched well below his weight in choosing to be tactful and gentle in being “prescriptive” as the author puts it. His approach, however, delivers the punches where they matter and leaves the reader dazed at why he had not thought of it that way.
A worthy book for all individuals who have to tackle real life situations in business, government and personal lives where ethics matter and are often overlooked.”
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